Lakers’ pipe dream Pacers trade is officially dead (for now)

A Russell Westbrook trade has essentially been dead for the Los Angeles Lakers for weeks now. Signing Dennis Schroder did spark some optimism that the Lakers would make a trade before the 2022-23 season starts but that optimism quickly faded.

Everything we have learned about the Lakers’ mindset heading into the season has indicated that the team was willing to be patient with a roster that they don’t really even believe in. However, anything can happen in the NBA and there was still hope that the team could surprise its fans with a move.

That hope should officially be dead as the best trade the Lakers could make for Westbrook is effectively off the table. Indiana Pacers general manager said on a radio appearance that Myles Turner will be the team’s starting center on opening night, which kills a Westbrook-Pacers trade in its tracks.

It already appeared that LA was being stingy with its future draft picks and did not want to trade two picks to make the Indiana trade happen (if they did the trade would have happened already). This is confirmation that trade talks are pretty dead for the time being.

This still doesn’t rule out a Lakers-Pacers trade for Russell Westbrook in the future.

It appears that the Lakers are going to see if Russell Westbrook can work this season (spoiler alert: it won’t) knowing that a trade could happen at a later date. In theory, Westbrook won’t be as hard to move in February when the other team only has to buy him out for half of his 2022-23 salary.

That being said, the ask from Indiana is still going to be the same. The idea that the Lakers could trade Westbrook for Hield and Turner and only attach one first is silly. It will still take two first-round picks at the time.

But at that time if things are going haywire and the team is getting pressure from LeBron James then Rob Pelinka will be more open to making a move. Hopefully, that move is a Pacers trade as it is the best trade the team can make. However, there is also the risk of another contender wanting Hield and/or Turner and having actual assets to offer.

It might be dead for now, but it is not dead forever. That being said, Los Angeles is playing with fire and they cannot be surprised if they end up getting burned.